Good-byes, Grief, and Gratitude by Stephanie

Steph_2 copy (2)By Stephanie Stamm

Given my letter for the day, I thought about writing about my new home state, Georgia. However, the “g” word that resonates most with me at the moment is “good-bye” (though a few others are scattered through the post as well).

I’ve been saying “good-bye” to a lot of people, places, and things lately. The things I’ve let go without much trouble. Many of them had felt heavy to me anyway, and I was ready to pass them on to someone else who could use or love them. Saying good-bye to places has been a bit harder. I have only a few more days in my house in Michigan, and I know driving away after all my belongings have disappeared in the moving van will make me sad and weepy. But saying good-bye to people—that’s the hardest of all. Even when I know we can keep in touch via telephone, text, email, Skype, FaceTime, and visits. With over 800 miles separating us, we won’t be getting together for impromptu dinners, drinks, or movies anymore.

256px-Yin_yang.svgI’ve often said that many of the best things in life are like the best chocolate: bittersweet. And that’s how this time in my life feels. I am grateful for the opportunity that has opened in my life and occasioned my move to Atlanta. At the same time, I grieve for the life I am leaving behind. The older I get, the more I realize that each choice we make offers both opportunity and loss. For every path taken, another is discarded. Every joy holds inside it the seed of grief, as every grief holds inside it the seed of joy.

??????????I am reminded of the Hindu god Ganesh—read more about Ganesh at my earlier post here—who is both the giver and remover of obstacles. The obstacles we face often hold within them the secret to their removal—and sometimes the obstacles themselves are gifts of sorts.

I guess all of this is to say that life and emotions are complicated. The more we live, the more we engage with this life we are in, the more we see that joy doesn’t exclude pain and loss; it encompasses them. We don’t find happiness by pushing away pain, but by embracing it as a necessary part of living an embodied life. We are happy not “instead of” sad, but “in spite of” or “as well as.”

So, my good-byes contain both gratitude and grief. And a seed of gratitude lives within the grief itself, for I am grateful to have had in my life—for however long—that person, place, or thing whose loss I now grieve.

I am beginning to think that those intertwined emotions of gratitude and grief are the source of growth.

What about you? What are you grateful for? What are you grieving?

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I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:

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I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

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22 thoughts on “Good-byes, Grief, and Gratitude by Stephanie

  1. G is Good timing. I am feeling grief too. We are moving to FL, which means downsizing tremendously. I will miss my family and friends, but realistically, we live a ways out in the country and we don’t get much company, we go out to eat occasionally, and see our friends and relatives at church. Being truck drivers gives us the opportunity to come back very often, but my 40 years of collecting, and loving my stuff, has made for a lot. I have given away a couple of thousand books. 4 carloads of 30 gallon trash bags of clothes, printers, laptops, and the list goes on and on. So right before G is F, and I’m frustrated. Thanks, maybe we’ll see you one day in GA, it is much warmer weather than MI. Cher’ley Everyone who may read this remember to go to the challenge and read a couple of blogs, leave a back at us link. https://writingwranglersandwarriors.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/good-byes-grief-and-gratitude/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this post Stephanie. Since I’ve moved so very much in my life, I’ve experienced grief each and every time, even though I look forward to the next challenge. I’ve said so many goodbyes it hurts just to think about them, but my friends and keep in touch. I give gratitude every day to God, who has stayed with me through it all and for the life I have. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A thoroughly engaging and heartfelt post. Change is a part of life and the ‘tao’ that life. Everything is interconnected, pain-happiness, joy-sorrow. You have captured it well, with a beautiful post. Thank you. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, Stephanie, and very appropriate to my household: my father-in-law passed away one year ago this month, so some of that grief lingers. We’ve nearly lost our dog, Cody, a few times in the past month, and each day I wake to check and see if he’s still breathing — I am already grieving his decline and eventual departure. But, as you so eloquently state, where there is pain, there is joy and vice versa — that is life. Best to you on your journey south and in your new home! Thank you for a heartfelt post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post got me to thinking. I’ve done my share of moving in my time, both as a child and as an adult. I’ve lived in Ohio, California, Florida, North Carolina and Nevada. And like you, I mourn for the loss of friends who I can’t see on a daily basis and for sights that cannot be reached in a short drive. You know… how wrenching it must have been in olden times for folks to head west in their covered wagons, knowing they would probably never again see family and close friends. Truly, it was goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have made that move to Atalanta myself. It is a beautiful area with so much to see and do. It is an easy place to make friends. You will do well Steff. Save journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I recently went through a move where I had to say my goodbyes too. It was hard to find the words to express how I felt at the time but you said it very well. The hardest wasn’t so much the friends or the town, although those were hard it was my grandchildren who before my move had been with me and visited daily. They had just turned six and were branching out with school and friends so I knew they didn’t need me as much but it was still heart wrenching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, leaving grandchildren would be very hard. I have some friends who had had plans to move someday who have changed their minds because they now have grandchildren nearby.

      Like

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